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Course changes enhance enlisted professionals

WASHINGTON -- Air Force officials recently standardized enlisted professional enhancement courses and changed the supervisory structure for career assistance advisers and First Term Airman’s Center course managers.

These changes enhance enlisted professionals by linking formal training, education and on-the-job training to develop Airmen’s technical skills and leadership abilities, officials said.

“We have tremendous talent within our ranks and we owe (Airmen) the opportunity to develop their abilities and recognize their potential,” Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Gerald R. Murray said.

More than two years ago, Chief Murray and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper created a developmental roadmap to grow capable leaders through exposure to the right training, education and experience. This led to the implementation of the Enlisted Professional Enhancement Program, officials said.

To foster that development, the career assistance adviser now has functional oversight of enhancement courses and the center. The adviser will be assigned directly under the mission support squadron commander and the noncommissioned officer in charge of the center reports to the adviser. Both will be hired locally. The adviser will be a master or senior master sergeant serving for two years. The center supervisor will be a staff or technical sergeant serving for one year.

The career assistance adviser structure provides standardization for enlisted force development programs, said Senior Master Sgt. Maria Cornelia, superintendent of the career management branch.

“The original intent of the career assistance advisers was to serve as retention warriors for the wing. However, (their role) has evolved, and we are calling on them to assist with force-development and force-shaping initiatives.”

Before standardization, base commanders created a variety of education programs to augment professional military education.

“While some of these programs were excellent, they lacked consistency from base to base,” Chief Murray said. “With this initiative, we’ll have a solid curriculum to provide Airmen at every base the same foundation while still allowing flexibility to adapt to meet local needs.”

There are now four standardized courses:

-- Senior NCO professional enhancement is designed for Airmen selected for master sergeant. This mandatory course must be at least three to five days long.

-- NCO professional enhancement targets NCOs who have not attended formal professional military education within the past three years. Half of each base’s NCOs who meet the criteria must attend the course. Course length is also three to five days.

-- FTAC is designed for Airman assigned to their first duty station. It lasts 10 to 15 duty days. All newly assigned Airmen must attend.

-- The Right Decision Seminar targets first- and second-term Airmen, regardless of rank, who are 12 to 15 months away from their date of separation. Attendance for first-term Airmen is mandatory.

Commanders can tailor the courses, Sergeant Cornelia said.

“There is a core curriculum that must be taught along with some suggested material,” she said. “But there’s flexibility for commanders to add courses to meet local needs or requirements, as long as it all fits into the time limit.”

Air Force officials will complete the new instruction, AFI 36-2624, the Career Assistance Adviser and Enlisted Professional Enhancement Programs, before setting an implementation date for the new courses.

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